Thursday, January 3, 2008

Three for Thursday: Presidential Election Begins, Maternal Profiling and Holiday Round-Up

Item #1: What’s Up with Iowa?

What’s up with Iowa? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s been hard to miss the mass hordes of reporters and politicos who’ve descended upon the farm state for the first official contest of the 2008 presidential election that starts tonight. What do the primaries have to do with parenting? That’s what my January Parents and Kids essay is about. If parents can get their kids all revved up about “American Idol” – as millions of parents do – why can’t they direct that energy and interest into something that really matters, like who’s going to be the country’s war-time commander-in-chief?

(Speaking of politics . . . the razor-sharp satirists at JibJab, who create funny animated bits about politics and current events, just released their 2007 year-in-review cartoon. Warning: The video is distinctly kid- and work-UNfriendly. Plus, it may offend those who are easily offended.)
Item #2: Maternal Profiling

The Huffington Post has an interesting entry this week about how the New York Times declared that the term “maternal profiling” -- a fancy way of describing the employment discrimination that some mothers encounter – was one of the hot buzzwords of 2007.
Item #3: Holiday Round-Up

Gifts: Santa bestowed upon my three rug rats: A Lego Star Wars Jabba the Hut barge, a Lego Star Wars Republic Cruiser and -- God help us -- a kid-sized set of drums. Grandma gave the Girl a karaoke machine (with which she’s been belting out all tunes “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” related. Non-stop.). Auntie Ellen gave the Eldest Boy a robot that, according to the box, not only is able to travel all around the house and see in the dark, but will develop its own personality and -- get this -- respond to aggression. Frankly, I’m frightened, and have already informed my beloved sister-in-law that if the four-legged robot gets out of hand, I’m going to abandon it on her front doorstep so it can exact its metallic aggression on her house.
Mirth: We got through Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, the Patriots’ regular season finale and a Festivus celebration (with my awesomely snarky friends) in tact. No one contracted a stomach bug (as I did last Christmas). No one was besieged by lice (as the Girl and I both were when were planning on marking the dark, grievance-filled holiday of Festivus with the same friends last year). No one died. So, as far as I’m concerned, ‘twas all good.

Family Togetherness: The day after Christmas, The Spouse and I took all three of our offspring, plus one friend apiece, to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks” at a movie theater. The three sets of friends all wanted to sit in three different rows, as if they didn’t know the grown-ups except when I distributed bags of popcorn and drinks . . . oh, and when our Youngest Boy wanted to hold his Daddy’s hand. After the movie, after they devoured Christmas cookies at our house, played the drums, played video games, sang karaoke and all the friends had gone home, each one of our children, one by one, got angry with The Spouse and I for insisting that it was time for bed when it was an hour-plus past their usual bedtime. Each one of the ingrates told us that we were ruining their lives. Plus we were accused of getting a secret thrill out of bossing little kids around. Nothing like gifts, a hyper-saccharine kids’ movie, time with friends, oodles of sugar and late bedtimes to bring a family together.
(Image from CNN.)

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